Fear the Walking Dead has clearly been giving its talented cast room for input and collaboration more than before in its sixth season, which has been a good thing. For Garret Dillahunt, the opportunity to make some suggestions for his John Dorie in Sunday night's Episode 6x04 made the latest hour of the zombie series very personal for the actor. Dillahunt talked with ComicBook.com for a deep dive into the episode, revealing that after a difficult personal year where he lost is father, th personal experience was incorporated into "The Key" episode which he dedicates to his father.
Spoilers for Fear the Walking Dead Episode 6x04 follow!
John Dorie was on a mission in Fear the Walking Dead's latest hour. His genuine attempt to serve the truth and justice was being hindered by Virginia, prompting John to level with Jacob about his father fighting for justice at the expense of everything he loved about his own life. For Dillahunt, there was an opportunity to honor his own father's legacy by putting shades of his own life into John's story of his father.
"2019 was a rough year for me, even before COVID," Dillahunt explained. "My father had got quite ill, and I had asked... I'm not saying I'm the reason for the more spot lighty episodes, but I asked if I could start as late as possible because I needed to spend time with my father, and his last days there."
Dillahunt is not the only Fear cast member who sought out a different type of schedule this year, some for other reasons, but it has all worked out quite well in the end. Dillahunt is quick to credit the powers that be behind Fear the Walking Dead
"To their credit, and something that I'll never really be able to repay or express my gratitude for is, they held off as long as they could, which was plenty of time, it turned out, for me to spend these last few months with my father," Dillahunt explained. "And we talked a lot about that stuff. And, I thought it was important that we work in a lot of Dorie and his father to this episode. My point is, there was a lot of communication about this story before. And so I think it just kept getting refined and refined until we both had something that we all were really proud of. And yeah, so I'm really grateful to them for this episode, and sort of dedicated this one to my pop."
In the end, the fictional post-apocalyptic saga does bring real world issues to light both for the audience watching and behind-the-scenes with the cast and crew. "You know, a silly little zombie show, do something that means something to people," Dillahunt says. "It's nice."
As for when we will see John Dorie again with the anthology format of Season 6 focusing on individuals or smaller groups with each episode, Dillahunt isn't giving it all away, but it won't be a terrible wait. "We shot out of order, partially for what I was talking about, them accommodating actors needs, which must've been a logistical nightmare for them," Dillahunt says. "So I'm a little foggy on which one's next, but we don't have to wait too long. And I think it's clear, from the story thus far, that you see Lenny is the one, he's the loose cannon that's on his own trying to reunite everybody and tracking people down. So I think you'll certainly see everybody together again. That's for sure."
The Walking Dead: World Beyond airs Sundays at 10pm ET, following new episodes of Fear the Walking Dead at 9pm ET on AMC. The Walking Dead will return for 6 more episodes of Season 10 in the Spring. The 11th and final season of The Walking Dead will begin airing in the Fall of 2021.